October 15th, 2008
08:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Martin: Obama is setting up McCain for the political rope-a-dope

Martin: Obama is setting up McCain for a knockout blow.
Martin: Obama is setting up McCain for a knockout blow.

(CNN) - Muhammad Ali was not only a great boxer, but an awesome tactician.

Remember the fight against George Foreman in Zaire? My man damn near went to sleep on the ropes as Foreman flailed away, using his energy to pound away at Ali. And at the right time, the Greatest of All Time started blasting away, eventually knocking Foreman out.

That's exactly what Sen. Barack Obama is doing to Sen. John McCain.

At no time during the Democratic primary has Obama tried to pick a fight. So when he told ABC last week that when it came to bringing up 1960s radical Bill Ayers on the campaign trail, McCain "wasn't willing to say it to my face," I instantly saw it as Obama throwing down the gauntlet.

Knowing full well that the senior senator from Arizona has a hot temper, he couldn't resist the bait.

"He has probably ensured that it will come up this time," McCain told a Missouri radio station.

And by doing so tonight, Obama will be ready to pounce.

I debated conservative Michael Steele last night at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., and he said McCain should stay focused on the issues. I concur.

By bringing up an issue voters don't care about, McCain will alienate independents, and make it easier for Obama to appeal to them.

If it happens, just watch Obama pound away at McCain, just like Ali did to Foreman.

soundoff (1,160 Responses)
  1. Tim in Seattle

    @Scott L – then your friends were never really going to vote for him in the first place ....his plans aren't that much different than Clintons policies – and what do ya know – we had budget surplus when he left office (not to mention good international standing)

    ....reagan and bush sr. had 12 years of deficits, clinton, a democrat oh my! had a surplus, one which GW has squandered and whattya know – deficit again...

    Like it or not trickledown economics doesn't work – if the last 28 years hasn't shown people that then this country deserves what it gets...frankly I'm hoping it gets Obama, because at least then we'll start moving in the right direction....

    October 15, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Roberto in Revelstoke

    Obama a socialist, how idiotic. A liberal, yes and far better that than being America's new dirty word, conservative.

    October 15, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Rene

    Maybe blacks are voting for Obama because he is black. It was okay for whites to hang, mutiliate rape and separate families because they were black, but now all of a sudden there's something wrong with blacks voting for someone because they're black. Hmmmm. Think about it.

    October 15, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. SHIRLLEWIS13@AOL.COM

    THE NEWS COULD BE HEARING AND SEEIN MCCAIN TELL HOW HE ACQUIRED THE NICKNAME "SONGBIRD" WHILE IN HIS POW CAMP. HEAR THAT HE PAID PEOPLE TO NEVER MENTION IT.

    October 15, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Vermonter1

    I just put my vote in for Obama/Biden today, I encourage anyone who had the ability to vote early to take part in it.

    October 15, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Phil

    Capitalism isn't working. Bailing out the banks is socialism. Republicans and Deomcrats voted for it. We also have socialism in the prison system, the DMV, public schools, road construction. Freedom isn't free people. Socialism isn't the end of the world.

    I always like to hear Christians(or people who say they're Christians) hate on socialism. They say things like why don't they get a job? I've earned my money, why don't they work? So ignorant, so unlike Jesus.

    Screw capatilism, let's work on taking care of each other.

    October 15, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. SC BLUE

    Rope a DOPE..how appropriate..McCain has been acting like a real dope..I worry that he is suffering the effects of being held captive and tortured.

    October 15, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Travis

    I would like to see if McCain will look at Obama this time it makes him look scared or anger of him either way that is not good

    October 15, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. Jeanne H.

    I sure hope McCain will be slapped around tonight, as soon as he opens his mouth to utter the name "Bill Ayers". Hypocrisy needs to be punished. McCain has lost any credibility by choosing the negative route, forgetting that he himself has much to hide from the public. Bring it all out to the open Obama (not that you need to, but you should).

    October 15, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. Jeanette

    McCain won't have Palin's skirts to hide behind tonight.
    He's all forceful when Palin is standing beside him, but when he's alone he looks and acts like a little old man.
    Count the times McCain mentions POW tonight. He's still living in the past (just like Jesse Jackson).

    I personally wish William Ayres would be at the debate so people can see him and learn what he's done with his life since the 70's.

    McCain and Palin have lost any honor they may have had.

    October 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Matt

    Bakersfield: You're an idiot. Get your religion out of my government and our political system. Perhaps you shoudl read up on the religious beliefs of our founding fathers. Ever heard of deism? I thought so.

    Candidates using mIsinformation to abuse the right to vote is bad enough. But we need thinkers. Blind adherence to religious dogma is not thinking.

    October 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. allen

    I have never witnessed so many ridiculous comments in my life. Did I actually see somebody say that we could use a man like Ayers right about now? A man who wanted to commit violent acts against people of his own country. A man who was photographed a couple of years ago standing on an American flag. I’m going to guess that none of you have friends or family fighting for our country. Oh yeah, bring up the fact that McCain said economics isn’t his strongest point. What the hell makes Obama some kind of economic expert? The really scary thing is that if Obama is elected, he will become the leader of our military. How could a man that knows nothing about military or defense come up with a way to leave Iraq in a responsible way? For the sake of our country I am going to pray that McCain gets elected.

    October 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Judy Mia Fl

    Obama has run a great campaign. It has been difficult for him to stay above the fray, but he's done well.

    I will be proud to call him President Obama for the next 4 years and hopefully 4 more after that.

    Let's allnof Floridians vote early and help get others to the polls ,
    I am reminding family and friends in Miami-Dade & WPB to get to the polls early & have voluteed to provide rides for those in need.

    I'm a 60 year old white women with 3 kids and 1 grand daughter – all Dems

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 15, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Independent White Woman

    TO-Carmine I don't care how politically correct you want to be but this country is not ready for a black president. If the democratic party wanted to win this election they should of went with any white guy. I can't wait for the election all these polls are off because too many people are afraid of telling the truth........How about Half White and Half Black......SHUT the HE_L UP!!!

    October 15, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Annette

    Senator Obama give Sen. McCain the rope-a-dope!

    October 15, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. Atlian

    What did Obama lie about Ayers? He said he was just a man in his neighborhood – true. He said he served on non-profit boards with him – true. He said he is a highly respected educator – true. Se said he denounces his 1960's acts – true. One thing he has not said -that he launched his political career in Ayers livingroom. Palin said that. It is NOT TRUE.

    October 15, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. Lee from CA

    It is hard to win without being negative. However, Obama has found a clever way to attack, by attacking "negativity" itself. Genius!!

    October 15, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Atlian

    p.s. Blacks are voting for Obama because he is a DEMOCRAT! Blacks have always voted majority DEMOCRAT!

    October 15, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Stephen

    I am absolutely amazed at the level of ignorance and complete disregard by the Obama supporters. Obviously you are all just standing around with your hands out ready to take the money that I worked hard for so that "we can spread the wealth around". It is incredibly scarey to see that you are unable or unwilling to see the truth about Obama and his socialist policies while spewing your uninformed and undeserved vitraol and hate. I guess the truth hurts and you just cannot handle it. Just like the Roman empire rotted from within because of debauchery, selfishness and idiocy so will America thanks to all you hypocritical fools that support Obama. I only pray that the "true" Americans that are proud of country, family and God show up in this election and cast a vote for morals, honesty and a return to conservative values. The liberals caused the economic crisis and I guess you all are just too stupid to realize it. God save us all!

    October 15, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. danlyn

    Jackie in Dallas you are one confused lady...have you heard the expresion :"Talking out of both sides of your mouth"
    you do it beautifully..
    I will say again NOBAMA will take from the rich and give to the poor, or you who will take it...cause you have worked so hard , and they haven't..NOBAMA ia a liar and full of B>S>

    October 15, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. tulsa

    Glenn,
    You're awfully impressed with yourself.
    If you didn't live in this Country, you wouldn't be able to have all those "things".
    You are not even willing to pay back to insure that someone else will have those same opportunities.
    That's the most un-American thing I can think of.

    It's cretins like you that give this great country a bad name.
    Bury yourself under that pool, please.

    October 15, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. KenB, MI

    tactical...

    October 15, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  23. Susan

    All he needs to do is remain presidential and cool. If McCain brings up Ayers, let's bring up Timmons and G. Gordon Liddy.

    October 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. George in TX

    The comparison of Obama with boxing champ Ali is uncalled for. What's next for Martin: calling McCain the last white hope?

    October 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. David

    GO ahead Glenn. Tell it like is is.

    October 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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